Police in Phoenix arrested two suspects last week in connection with the dismembered corpse of an 80-year-old Air Force veteran whose body parts were found stuffed in garbage bags.
Thomas Wallace, 58, is being held on $1 million bond and faces multiple felony charges on suspicion of second-degree murder, concealing a dead body, theft of means of transportation and trafficking in stolen property, according to local affiliate FOX 10.
Ramona Gonzalez was also jailed on suspicion of fraud and theft.
The body of the victim, whose identity has not yet been released, was found Nov. 1 when police did a welfare check after family members had not heard from him in about a month. They were concerned that he might have passed away from diabetes in his residence, according to court documents.
When police checked on him, neighbors said they had not seen the victim for about three or four weeks. Upon entering the victim’s residence, officers encountered “a strong foul odor” inside and discovered two black trash bags in the bedroom that contained his dismembered body parts.
Homicide investigators later found blood on the ceiling of the living room, as well as on several walls and pieces of furniture. They also found the victim’s decapitated head in a pile of linens.
Investigators found that Gonzalez had moved into the victim’s home last year and allegedly pawned off his possessions and often stole his vehicle to maintain her drug habit, the court documents said. Wallace moved into the home in April.
Investigators also discovered that Wallace had pawned items last month that included a chainsaw, a hedger, and a bag containing a camera and the victim’s business card. Police retrieved the items from the pawn shop and said they exhibited “an odor of decomposition.”
Crime scene personnel then found what appeared to be torn flesh, torn ligaments and biological matter on the chainsaw.
Authorities apprehended Wallace and Gonzalez after following them to a motel where they found the victim’s missing pick-up truck.
“It’s sick,” said Minoca Moreno, who lives in the area. “It’s sick to do something like that to another human being.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.